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Summary: God's Kingdom is made up of individuals, each with his or her strengths, gifts, calling, failures, struggles, experiences, and personal slants. We have Jesus Christ, God's Word, and a transformed heart in common.

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The Drama Behind God's Servants

(Colossians 4:7-18)

1. A group of foreign dignitaries are visiting Israel. At the end of the tour, they are taken to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They look at the tomb and read the following inscription:

ABRAHAM SCHWARTZ BORN 5694 DIED 5733 A GOOD MAN AND A GREAT FURRIER

The visitors are incredulous. They ask the guide, "How can this be an unknown soldier if the grave has his name?" Their host responds, "Sure, as a soldier he was unknown, but as a furrier -- he was the best!" [source: http://www.haruth.com/].

2. We have differing trades, skills, and personalities. Our personalities vary immensely. One guy said, “"If it weren't for caffeine I'd have no personality whatsoever!"

3. Then there are experiences. Where have we come from? All of us have a spiritual story. We are not stock figures, clones of some public domain Christian prototype.

4. Today, we are going to look at some of the stories behind names that sound just like names to us. Behind those names are some amazing people.

5. If you look at this text, you say, “How can Pastor Ed get a sermon out of these leftovers?” When you study the text with me, you will say, “How can Pastor Ed keep this to one half hour?”

Main Idea: God's Kingdom is made up of individuals, each with his or her strengths, gifts, calling, failures, struggles, experiences, and personal slants. We have Jesus Christ, God's Word, and a transformed heart in common.

I. The FAITHFUL: Proven and Being Proven (7-11, 15, 17)

A. Tychicus mentioned five times: Mr. FAITHFUL

1. He would be the one who would update the Colossians about Paul

2. He would lead the small group from Rome dropping off a letter to the Ephesians, the Laodiceans, and finally Colossians and Philemeno.

3. Communication is always a big issue in God's Kingdom

B. Onesimus, the new contrversial SLAVE convert (9)

C. The thick issue: ARCHIPPUS, Philemon's son (17)

1. I did not address 4:1 in my earlier sermon, because it needs to be brought to bear here.

2. Paul calls Onesimus his beloved brother, and expects Archippus and Philemon to do the same

3. Archippus must have been an up and coming leader, and he might stumble over this...

D. The other MESSIANIC Jews (Aristarchus, Jesus/Justus)

• Willing to believe despite peer pressure

• Risked ostracism, mockery, embarrassment

E. Nympha offered her HOME as the church's meeting place (15)

• It takes a lot of work to offer hospitality…

• Truly hospitable people want others to be comfortable, but not out to impress

F. Faithful behind the scenes folks do much MINISTRY

God's Kingdom is made up of individuals, each with his or her strengths, gifts, calling, failures, struggles, experiences, and personal slants. We have Jesus Christ, God's Word, and a transformed heart in common.

II. The Struggling and VACILLATING (10, 14b)

A. (John) MARK'S ups and downs

I think if we had known John Mark, we might have thought of him as unstable or flakey

But he became the great man of God who authored the Gospel According to Mark

Acts 15:36-40

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

B. Barnabas helped young cousin Mark RECUPERATE and RENEW his commitment

• Could be cousin, but if so, he was older and like an uncle

• Everyone wants a Cousin or Uncle Barnie, but have you ever thought about being one?

C. Demas was a USEFUL servant of the Lord, for a time

D. Later, DESERTED Paul (not necessarily the faith)

1. 2 Timothy 4:10, “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”

2. Easy to point finger at people like Demas, but how would we do?

E. We know many “HAVE BEEN” servants of the Lord (nothing new)

• Sometimes I remember people, and I grieve over their choices

• Sometimes they come back around, sometimes they do not

God's Kingdom is made up of individuals, each with his or her strengths, gifts, calling, failures, struggles, experiences, and personal slants. We have Jesus Christ, God's Word, and a transformed heart in common.

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